Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.820678
Title: Mobility, space and power in the making of Burma's borders, c.1881-1960
Author: O'Morchoe, Frances Eileen
ISNI:       0000 0004 9356 2933
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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Abstract:
This thesis investigates the shifting ideas, definitions and negotiations around the borders between Burma, China and Siam (Thailand) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Extending the work of scholars of ‘Zomia studies’ and recent advances in borderlands historiography, it uses extensive archival research in Burma, Thailand, the US and the UK to examine the changing relations between borderland dwellers, empires and nation-states in Southeast Asia. In doing so it seeks to contribute to wider debates over the nature of nation-state-making, sovereignty and citizenship at the edges of states. The following chapters make three main claims. The first is that contests for territory between diverse centres of power in the borderlands in the late nineteenth century show that border-making in ‘Zomia’ was a multi-directional rather than state-centred process. This thesis questions the apocryphal narrative of the ‘anti-state’ Wa and the ahistoric, state-escaping Lahu, by showing the varied territorial strategies of different groups of actors vying for control of the borderlands. The second claim is that the transnational mobility of people and things was central to border-making in the region. Smugglers who traded opium across borders in order to benefit from differences in colonial tax regimes paradoxically made international boundaries more rather than less relevant. Likewise peregrinations of preachers, converts and foreign missionaries in the early twentieth century caused external states to try to regulate the movement of people, thereby making the borders real. Thirdly, the thesis examines how people’s ideas of borders shifted in the polarising world of the early Cold War. Borders meant different things to different groups, becoming nationalist symbols or zones of uncertain sovereignty. At the margins, borderland peoples’ alternative spatial imaginings and political formations continued to challenge central states’ certainties of ‘geo-bodies’ and ‘imagined communities’.
Supervisor: Fogg, Kevin W. Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.820678  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History
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